Monday, July 6, 2020

Ukraine fears Russia will use massive military exercises to invade

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Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vasyl Bodnar said that Ukraine needs to be mentally prepared for the fact that Russia will not stop using its armed forces for political and economic objectives.

“A significant number of military experts and analysts share the opinion about the possibility of a military offensive. NATO also understands how real it is to use Russia’s military potential against Ukraine, and its activation is possible in the near future. Therefore, we need to be mentally prepared for the fact that Russia will not stop using its armed forces for political and economic objectives,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

According to Bodnar, firstly, there is an increase in military capacities on the eastern border of Ukraine, and secondly, a significant increase in military groups of Russian troops on the seized part of the Ukrainian territory – Crimean peninsula.

Some experts said that Summer 2020 could be a turning point in the situation with the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula and bring Ukraine a new war, now in the south. This is stated by American and Ukrainian experts, as well as leaders of neighboring countries warn the Ukrainian authorities about such a scenario.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili also said in a comment to the Financial Times that there was a high probability of intensification of Russia’s military aggression.

The Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine also points to the fact that military vehicles, aircraft, and equipment were brought to the Crimea and a huge number of military exercises in the Black Sea region (only in April this year about 30 exercises were conducted). At the same time, analysts at The Jamestown Foundation believe that a catastrophic drought and Putin’s inability to provide the peninsula with water that will push Russia to a new attack on Ukraine very soon.

In addition, new satellite imagery from Google Earth shows hundreds of Russian main battle tanks at a new military base on the outskirts of the Kamensk-Shakhtinsky. Compared to last year’s photos, there is a noticeable increase in the number of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other wheeled vehicles.

The large-scale military base only 18 kilometers away from the border with toward rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. Images show hundreds of main battle tank like as T-64 and also T-62M, while a thousand military trucks, artillery systems and tankers are located slightly higher.

Ukrainian officials also accused Russia of supplying regular troops and sophisticated heavy weaponry to the rebels.

What’s more, the OSCE SMM to Ukraine has reported that it spotted the movement of military-type trucks across the uncontrolled sections of border with Russia in the occupied areas of Luhansk region.

“On 4–5 June, between 20:40 and 00:24, an SMM long-range UAV spotted a convoy of trucks entering Ukraine and another convoy exiting Ukraine on a dirt road near Cheremshyne (non-government-controlled, 59km south-east of Luhansk), near the border with the Russian Federation where there are no border crossing facilities,” reads the OSCE SMM daily report 134/2020 issued on 6 June 2020.

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